??? String Quilts - Spider Web?

magothyrivergirlFebruary 15, 2010

I have alot of little pieces and "strings" of various sizes, especially from the paper piecing I am doing. In one of my books, there is a spider web quilt with directions - it appears to be PP in a triangle shape (8 units) on paper or muslin. Am I understanding this correctly? Isn't someone here doing a spider web quilt?

I've done some reading on the net about string quilts, but I want to make sure I understand the concept. Please correct me if I'm wrong or am missing something.

You use various widths of strips, length to cover area of a foundation (paper, muslin) sewn like in a PP method kinda willy - nilly across because the strips may be wider at one end. Trim in the desired shape and join units together.

Scrappier the better. Is this it?

Is this a good way to use up these skinny strips I can't seem to throw away?

What is the narrowest strip you use?

Do you always need to use a foundation or paper? What do you use?

Alot of questions, I know-I appreciate your answers and advice.

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You've got it down perfectly. You sew lots of strips onto a backing. I think you could do it without the backing but that tends to hold it together better and control the stretching. Narrowest to use is whatever you can sew seam on and still have something show. Since you'd use quarter inch on each side, you'd obviously make it more than a half inch wide. If you make a long strip of these strings a set width, you can then cut 60 degree triangles and make spider web hexigons. You can also cut them into 45 degree bits and make squares. It is very easy and artistic. Do your own thing. Since it takes awhile to gather your bits, this can be an ongoing thing and a place to "stash" them.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Thank you for your quick response. From the PPing, I have odd small "chunks" that would cover the narrow point of the triangles, so I could use those, sewing on the actual paper triangle pattern, and for the other long normal strips I am accumulating, I could sew on a bigger rectangle and cut them the same size as the paper triangles - definitely faster and easier.
You've got me thinking.......which is very dangerous.
The intent is to make it an ongoing project to use up some of the leftover bits.
This might just turn me into a "scrappy" quilter.
Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 12:59PM
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I made a spider web quilt last year and it's on my daybed now. I didn't paper piece but used a sheer cotton block and foundation pieced. You'll go nuts trying to remove the paper backing from thousands of tiny strips.

There are two basic spider web patterns. One is much easier than the other. Ask me how I know, LOL. As usual I started using the hardest one and found the easier version later.

One pattern makes the plain area between the circle of webs in the middle (the easier pattern). The other makes you leave triangular plain material on the edges of the triangle (the harder pattern).

With all those seams and bias sewing, foundation piecing makes a nice substantial reinforcment to the cloth. I sandwiched mine, backed it and opted to knot this quilt, but think I would have preferred quilting it. With the thousands of pieces, it needs all the help it can get to strengthen the stitching.

It's a perfect vehicle for eating scraps and very dramatic when done. I have had people walk through my living room where it adorns my daybed and just stop and say wow. But, it's a powerful quilt when done scrappy and you either love it or hate it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:10PM
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It's actually a very fun quilt to do. I do agree it's much easier if you use a fabric backing than to use a paper one. Pulling all that paper off in the end is not fun!
One tip I found that worked well for me was to start in the middle with the first strip and work outwards to the ends.It made the shapes much easier to handle I thought. Don't forget to press as you work.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:29PM
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It is a fun quilt to do! And you are so right, start in the middle of the triangle. That's why I suggested that it be the plain area where it'll end up the space between the webs. As long as that is measured dead-on accurate it'll make the webs come together perfectly, no matter how wonky you make the strips. There is no law saying all the strips must be the same width and that opens up a lot of possibilities for wonkiness. I think that's what made it fun for me that I didn't feel obliged to add measuring strips carefully because it didn't play into the finished product and also allows you to use some scrap you may not have been able to use had they needed to be exactly a certain width. The fact I wasn't paper-piecing was also a factor in deciding to do wonky strip widths. One does not have that line over which to do flip and sew.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:56PM
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This is the book I have. The corner of the cover says "82 Classics Made Easy". The blank spaces between the webs is a separate triangle pattern cut from a solid fabric and sewn to each wedge so the spider unit is sewn together including the attached solid fabric forming 16" square blocks - is this the easy way??

Calliope - I do remember your spider web on your daybed - would you mind posting the pic again when you have time?

I think I'll use muslin - The part I hate about paper piecing is tearing off the paper, and I can see where it would benefit from the muslin, like interlining on jackets. Do I muslin back the blank space solid triangles also?

Carol, good idea to start piecing across the middle.

I am so glad I asked these questions. Maybe I will cut a plastic template of the wedges from the pattern in the book, to mark & sew the strips across the muslin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Book

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:01PM
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I made one several years ago and it's on my bed right now.I used muslin for a backing cut into 8 1/2" sqs,started in the middle on the diagonal,and just kept adding to each side til it was full.I let them all stack up until i was done,then trimmed them all up at the end.I took it one step further to use up the small pieces and made a piano keyboard border for one of the borders.
I know i posted a picture of it on here a couple years ago,but can't find it now.
Here's the picture i have in one of my albums,if i find the other i'll share it as well as it's a better picture.I also tied this as it was for me.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:37PM
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Kathi, now I want to make one, too! (That is if I ever get through with the behemoth I'm working on now). There is also one on Google when you search "string quilt" that looks interesting, it's the first photo that shows up, I keep wondering how they did it, just strips all going straight across, I guess if you wanted to do it on a muslin backing you would have to do it on a piece large enough for the entire top. You would have to make all the strips in each row the same width. They do have wide muslin, though - 108 inches.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:49PM
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Well, that sounds like an easier version than the one I did, Magothyrivergal. I am laughing out loud, because I suspect they are all easier than the one I chose to do. Which is why you should research patterns before you start sewing, I guess ;-). I'm not even going to go there with how I did it because it's certainly not the best way.

I'm putting a link to the easier version I liked from quiltville and there is a similar pattern on Quilter's cache. Both involve working the background into each triangle as you construct it. So when you finish each triangular section and piece them together into a square......the background fabric is already incorporated. You can compare that to your instructions and see which one you like best. I can't wrap my mind around your pattern from the description.

My pattern I used, put triangles of background fabric into the corner of the triangles one then sewed together to form a square block. I just grabbed a right triangle template and cut out foundation pieces with it and winged it. It was whatever size block they turned out to be. I'm thinking they ended up nine inch.

That's a beautiful quilt, Kathi.....but it's one I call a God's Eye. I made one of those too, but I paper pieced mine. rofl. That was before I knew better.

Here is a link that might be useful: other version

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Kathi-that is gorgeous! That sounds alot easier and will still use up those odd small chunks I get leftover from PPing. Thank for posting the picture and describing your method. since I've never done it, and am still inexperienced, I need someone to tell me the "how to". Now I am looking at it differently.

Calliope - I think the way in the book to attach the background is the hard way as you described. yikes!

I was just thinking string sewing would be mindless and use up these scraps, and give my brain a rest from following directions and still accomplish something - like watering plants by hand in the summertime - it is snowing again here and I am dreaming of summertime :).

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:01PM
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While i was doing it i didn't realize those patriotic prints had such a white background(they don't in the picture) once i got it all together the white was almost blinding to me,so i went in the kitchen,made up some tea and using an old rag,tea dyed those blocks,then threw it in the dryer.That quilt has been washed a few times and the tea never washed out.
.I'll have to find the other picture as it's much better and you can see all of it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:15PM
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This is my spiderweb. My scrappies are usually used as utility quilts, wonky to the point of primitive and I throw them in the washer.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:24PM
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Calliope - I remember this! Mostly because of the beautiful wood daybed :)
Yup, the end result of the background fabric looks just like the directions in the book. Good idea to use a different color for background on the inside. Thanks for the pic again.

kathi - when I made wedding dresses, if the lace trim was not the right shade of white, I would use tea to stain the lace.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 6:06PM
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FlamingO in AR

I made these 25 string blocks to use in a different quilt but can't bring myself to cut them up as planned. So they'll be their own little quilt, 48" square, unless I border it.

I used a pad of paper called Newspaper for my foundation pieces- it's perfect for this, tears off like a dream and comes in a big pad of large sheets, I think 12" x 18". Got it at Hobby Lobby and I'm finding myself using scraps of it a lot, when sewing little fiddly things that want to get pulled down by the needle.

I'm also going to make a scrappy string quilt like the one below in the link.... I did a swap with a bunch of other ladies and now we all have a big selection of scraps.

Here is a link that might be useful: String quilt tutorial....

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Wow, your string quilts are amazing. You have rekindled my interest. I knew I saving those scraps of left over binding for something.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:00AM
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Mine was made on 10' muslin sqs.Backed with flannel.

Here is a link that might be useful: King Size String Quilt

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:57AM
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I really like that quilt. I think some newspapers sell and even give away end rolls of newsprint. Worth a try.
String quilts have always been on my to do list. Maybe soon. Jayne

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 11:25AM
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That link doesn't work,says it has moved.

I really like the muslin backing as it stabalizes the strips FOREVER and there's no paper to tear off,as well as an extra added layer.My backing i 100% cotton,yet when i washed it ,it feels and looks just like flannel,and i got it for 1.00 yd at walmart.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Thanks so much for all who responded and posted pictures - I am enlightened & realize I need to think about this "string" process. Since I haven't yet embraced the whole scrappy - mix and match - but I can't stand to throw away perfectly good scraps ~LOL~ I thought this would be a good way to use them up.

Flamingo-your quilt blocks are stunning - your controlled color usage is my style. I can see why you can't cut them up.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:12AM
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You could consider a crazy quilt. I just finished off my second one. It's an easy flip and sew and you can use the largest or smallest bits in them Vicky had a quilt lotto with that block and I fell in love with it then. I've done two so far, and the last one I had going to use up scraps from my Dresden Plate. But, I was enjoying the CQ so much, guess which one got done first? LOL

It was one of two I finished off in my January/February goals. I through it over a bed, to photograph it. Pardon the mess. LOL.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:59PM
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Very pretty,how big are the squares??

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:12PM
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Thanks, Kathi. I had a nine and a half inch square template, so just used that to cut out the foundation blocks, so that they finished out nine inches. The sashes brought it up to just the right size to fit my day bed. I wanted smaller projects, and easy ones to work on my machine quilting. I am just learning how because hand quilting is so time intensive to use for everyday coverlets. I used an old flannel blanket of my mother's I couldn't bear to throw away for batting. That allowed me to not have to quilt so closely together, since I didn't have to worry about the batting separating.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 6:40PM
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love 'em, love 'em, love 'em!
Flamingo-your quilt blocks are absolutely incredible. I love the colors & black accents!
ohhhh I just need to retire! more time to quilt.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 8:29PM
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Can anyone help me find a flip and sew/foundation piecing pattern for a piano keyboard? I would like to incorporate an image of a piano into a quilt but can't find a pattern.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 3:47AM
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This is very similar to the QAYG technique, except you have the batting and backing all together (instead of paper) when you sew down your strips.

All the quilts you ladies have done are beautiful! I need to do more machine quilting so I will have more scraps.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 7:38AM
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Great scrappy strings everyone. I have a String-X from Quiltville going but not using a foundation. Don't understand why one is needed in this case.

Julia, I found this for a foundation pieced piano key border. Hope it helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: String-X pattern

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:05AM
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FYI-I started this thread over a year ago.....that said, I like seeing these pictures again. In the year, I decided I wasn't ready to start a scrappy string quilt (not enough variation in scraps yet) but, I did recently separate much of the mess of scraps I had accumulated. Toolgranny had stated the obvious to most of you - but since I was so new, I needed it stated - heehee- you need at least 3/4" wide strips. That was my guideline, and the smaller went in a bag to be used for a pillow for my son's dog - who chews up everything stuffed.
I have come so far in a year - thanks to you all sharing!
Please add any string/ crumb quilts you've made to this thread.
jool- I read where someone uses 2" adding machine tape on a roll as her foundation to make her piano keys. I thought that was a good idea.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:57AM
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Does anyone just sew their strips together without the muslin and not on point?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Here is a form of string quilt, Roman Bar. I used unbleached muslin for the square and even strings of 1930's reproduction fabrics for the bars. I hand quilted a rising sun in the half square where no strings were sewn.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:43PM
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Here are some good ideas for string quilts!

Here is a link that might be useful: Google search

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 2:52PM
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This is a crumb quilt that I made a while back but didn't use strips--just anysized pc. Jayne
The blocks were made like a 9 patch-crumbs were cut into 4 1/2 " sqs. and then sewn together. Jayne

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Long ago, maybe 25 yrs now, I read a article in a book that old time quilters used newspaper as backing to their string quilts. The newspaper was plentiful, easily cut and didn't waste fabric where one wouldn't see it.
They simply picked a size and shape they liked and laid the first string from corner to corner. Everything else was stitched to that first string. Once the quilt was all pieced together the paper was removed.
I tried it. It worked very well. The hardest part was removing all the newspaper from the back.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 3:53PM
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I used light weight interfacing as a foundation for this one. It's a lot lighter than muslin.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:19AM
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